On July 21, IECF held its 2nd Annual Policy & Engagement Forum titled “Leading Together in the IE, for the IE” to celebrate the collective impact community leadership is having across the region. The virtual forum drew more than 500, representing business owners, community leaders, and elected officials. Throughout the program, speakers addressed “regional wins,” while also asking participants to imagine together what the future holds for the IE. The day wrapped up – and conversations continued – with an in-person celebratory “Happy Hour” in downtown San Bernardino!  View the recorded sessions here:

Main Session

Breakout Sessions

“We’re excited to create this event and open up a bigger dialogue about policy needs with our community. There is room for all voices in the Inland Empire, and if we’re going to capture more resources for the region, we have to come together like this and share what’s on our mind,” said Michelle Decker, IECF President and CEO.

“​​We must pull together so our communities are healthy, safe, enjoyable and thriving. Collaboration is essential to make that happen… it is critical that we do not work in silos,” emphasized Assemblymember James Ramos in his opening keynote remarks. The Assemblymember gave an example of his recent roundtable conversation co-hosted with Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly, that included multiple community leaders with expertise on a variety of major local issues, such as foster care, mental health, homelessness, etc.

The event also hosted US Congressman Mark Takano, San Bernardino County Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. and Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel who shared specific ideas for engagement and policy change, including federal resources like Community Funding Projects.

State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh highlighted the importance of being heard and speaking up on key issues “I represent over 1 million people, and in order to best advocate for our constituents we need to hear from you [and them] directly. When visits and calls are scheduled with us, we lock it in and track these sentiments to know how our district feel about policy changes.”

IECF’s goal is to address existing inequities by creating greater policy capacity and amplifying the voices and influence of regional leaders, from community to major institutions. IECF is committed to supporting philanthropic efforts that are demonstrating impact, collaboration and tangible social change that benefits our community, while building a Culture of Philanthropy in the process.

Over the past year, IECF’s been involved in key policy victories that were highlighted and summarized throughout the forum. This included the formation of the IE COVID Nonprofit Table which was successful in securing $16 million in county designated American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA) funds for nonprofits in Riverside County. Additionally, IECF hosted several informational sessions through its Civic Engagement Series on the dos and don’ts of how nonprofit organizations engage in an election year, and how to effectively engage their networks to Get Out the Vote. Through the IE Dual Enrollment Table, another win included collaboration amongst regional and state partners to advocate for dual enrollment policy changes and funding, which successfully resulted in securing $200 million in the state budget.

As the forum concluded, Vincent Rasso Student Affairs Manager for Campaign for College Opportunity highlighted, “there are unique ways that we can get young people involved (such as committees and youth councils), it’s just a matter of really empowering them to take the lead on things instead of just having them be advisors so that they can shape and frame their ideas and act upon them.”

Thank you to everyone for attending! IECF invites you to follow the work that is happening under the Office of Policy & Engagement. For more information, contact Julian Cuevas @jcuevas@iegives.org.


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